The Daily Bonkers

Volume 2 Post 1

Understanding the 2017 NASCAR Changes (Part One)

Quote of the Day

You can’t let one bad moment spoil a bunch of good ones.

~ Dale Earnhardt, Sr.

INTRODUCTION

It has been a while since I have been on here. I forgot the unique password I used for this site but I remember now! This edition of The Daily Bonkers will be directed toward the 2017 rule changes in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. In order to understand the breadth and scope of these changes to the points format, I decided to try a few scenarios and see how the point distribution works. There is a bunch of confusion and it is very difficult to see how these changes will make racing more competitive lap-by-lap until we see some actual results. Unfortunately, we will have to wait until after the Daytona 500 next month to see how this new system will work toward rewarding drivers their points after each race.

Let’s get started!

So in order to understand these rule changes, I will post images of the slides from their press briefing on this subject. All credit goes to NASCAR but I think this does a good job of explaining how the new system will work without myself misinterpreting some of it.

 

EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN

I followed the new format given in the first three slides. One cool thing to mention is that NASCAR has introduced a new flag to the motorsports world: The Green-and-White Checkered Flag!  So, a lot of these races will be split up into halves. For one example is Pocono. It normally has 160 laps, let’s go with that for easy math. Divided into 2, we have two 80 lap segments. The final 80 lap segment is going to be our main event. The winner of the main event will get the trophy, the clinched spot in the playoff, and all 40 drivers will get their points awarded. The first 80 lap segment is going to be broken up into two halves. Therefore, we will have two 40 lap heat races to start things off. The top 10 drivers of each heat race will get points and nobody else will. The winner of the heat races get a playoff bonus point which might come in handy when it comes time.

I did the same concept for Bristol Motor Speedway. Unfortunately, I do not have the time to do the full race, so I came up with two 20 Lap heat races and then a 35 lap Main event. The scenario I would like to try: Which of two drivers will have more points at the end of the race if Driver A wins both heat races, whereas Driver B wins the Main Event?

RESULTS

For this scenario, I chose Danica Patrick, the driver of the 10 car, to be Driver A. Next, I chose Brad Keselowski, the driver of the 2 car, to be Driver B. I chose the 2 car for Driver B due to the fact that he placed in the top 10 of one of the heat races. A typical race would most likely have this scenario. Let’s be honest: If you win the main event, you more than likely will place in the top 10 of at least one of the heat races.

So, here is a screen capture of my Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. I recorded the top 10 drivers of both heat races as well as some of the main event results. The other drivers were not relevant to the experiment so I omitted a lot of the main event leaderboard by showing the top 10 plus where our Driver A finished at the main event. Driver A is represented in yellow and Driver B is represented in blue

nascar6

CONCLUSION

As we can see, Driver A ended up with more total points earned from the race compared to Driver B, even though Driver B won the main event. One interesting note is that Driver B might not have gotten the most points, but they uniquely got a clinched spot in the playoffs by winning the main event as well as 5 playoff bonus points that will be added to their regular season total whereas Driver A will only get the bonus of 2 playoff points but they will still have to win a main event race in the future to clinch their spot in the 16-car playoff, or earn their way in the more difficult way by driving their ass off and getting enough points to take some of the remaining playoff spots left open because we have never had 16 unique winners in a race season thus far.

FUTURE WORK

Now that the hardest experiment is done, which is always the first one. We can build on these results without having to explain so much. It will be more concise and to-the-point. Here are a few other scenarios I will soon be exploring when time allows:

  • What if Driver A wins the first heat race, and then Driver B wins the second heat race, and then Driver A or Driver B wins the main event? Who will have the most points?
  • What if Driver A wins both heat races as well as the main event? Who would have the second most points as a result?
  • What if Driver A wins the first heat race, and then Driver B wins the second heat race, and then Driver C wins the main event? Who will have the most points?

Thank you for reading this and have a wonderful day/night! This was fun to try and I hope it helps the average NASCAR fan in terms of the new format being introduced this year. If you are reading this and do not watch NASCAR……..you poor soul! This is probably going over your head which is totally fine. I hope you are at least impressed. I still love you and appreciate you for the read and now you can brag about learning something new today!

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